Rafael Benitez wants every Player to Play upto their Potential

What Rafael Benitez wants off his Magpies is for them to use every bit of their playing potential to take the most out of the 18 points that’s left there for the taking as far as they are concerned.

As per Benitez, the pressure is both at the top as well as at the bottom of the table. If you are at the top, you are chasing the title, while, if you are at the bottom, you are chasing safety. So, there is a target in front of you either way and your supporters see that target as a success for you. But, in any situation, the players can just look to deliver their best and make sure they leave nothing in the tank. Having done that, they would have no regrets later on and the supporters would see that too and understand that.

After joining the job, Benitez has so far seen Newcastle just adding one more to their total of points. The first match he took the operations in his hand, it was against Leicester at Leicester and the Magpies lost there.

The next game at home, the Black Cats let them a draw with some lose play, but, it was back to losses again as they lost back to back against Norwich City and Southampton after that.

So, Benitez has not proved as talismanic as one might have imagined him to be with his heavy curriculum vitae.

Newcastle, however, is playing most of the matches at home now, four matches, to be exact, at home and only two away. So, that’s one shining light and that’s something that Benitez can draw a bit of positivity from.
It’s Swansea City which will be the visiting team at Upton Park this Saturday.

Shay Given expects NU to avoid relegations

Goalkeeper Shay Given expects his former club, Newcastle United, to avoid relegation against all the odds. Newcastle have been down in the drop zone for much of the season.

This led to manager Steve McClaren sacked from his role. The former England boss could not see out one single campaign with the Toon Army. Given played at Newcastle for several years and was regarded as a stable option for the managers. He has since moved to different clubs over the last couple of years and is now currently playing with Stoke City.

He was last seen at St James’s Park in 2009 and he represented the club in more than 350 matches. The club has already experienced a relegation once since the turn of the century. There is a distinct possibility that a second could be on the way. Newcastle are already cut off from the rest of the teams trying to avoid relegation with only Swansea being involved – apart from the three teams in the relegation zone. For a couple of years after coming back to the top division, Newcastle enjoyed relative stability due to the presence of Alan Pardew.

Pardew, though, was not welcomed by the club supporters who did not see him as one of their own, not least after he took the suad on a Southampton yacht charter rather than off on a boat in the Tyne.

“It isn’t a nice situation for them to be in, but I do really think that they will get out of it.They made some really strong signings during the January window and I think on paper, they look a really good side. I am sure that it will all click and they will pull themselves clear - hopefully, not until after Wednesday night’s game mind.There will be some anxiousness and nervousness around the place at the moment, but that is to be expected when there are only 11 or 12 games to go and you are involved in a relegation battle,” said Given.

Shay Given’s time on the sidelines is far from over

A knee injury that Shay Given suffered back in October of 2015 has kept the Irish shot-stopper on the sidelines of Stoke City for significantly long period of time but even if he does manage to fully recover from his recent injury, it’s highly unlikely that Given will see a lot of playing time as Jack Butland is the main goal-keeper of the Premier League club.

This injury has also forced Shay Given on having to sit out from the 2016 Euro’s play-offs of Republic of Ireland and things got so intense for Given that he had to undergo a surgery.

The injured Irishman has recently come out to the spotlight of the media as he defended the former Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood.

Tim Sherwood hasn’t enjoyed the best of times as a manager; he has been sacked from the only 2 clubs which he has taken charge of. After being sacked in the White Hart Stadium as the coach of Tottenham Hotspur in May of 2014, Sherwood tried his luck by taking charge of Aston Villa but his time as the manager of the team only lasted around 8 months as he went through a string of underwhelming results and now Sherwood is left without any coaching duties.
In spite of the negative results that Tim Sherwood and the successive sackings of Tim Sherwood, Shay Given has defended the English coach as Given said:

Shay Given said: “I have a lot of time for Tim, actually. Possibly he should have been given more time. He might not have been involved in the player recruitment, and if that’s the case, then it was a tough task for him. I think Tim will have a big future in football, and hopefully he does well.”

That was the statement released by Shay Given as the Irish shot-stopped said that Sherwood has a bright future ahead of him as a coach. Sherwood and Shay Given worked together in Aston Villa a few months ago before the English manager was eventually sacked and replaced by Remi Garde.

Mark Hughes says that there is not a great possibility of Shay Given

Stoke City boss Mark Hughes says that there is not a great possibility of Shay Given featuring for the Republic of Ireland national team in the upcoming Euro 2016 play-off match.

This is a very crucial fixture for the national team given that it will give them yet another opportunity to feature in a major tournament. Ireland failed spectacularly in the previous Euro 2012 to make any major impact, but this is a great opportunity to go for a second consecutive European Championship. For this purpose, the national team was very much looking forward to having started goalkeeper Shay Given protecting the goal.

This appears to be made tough because of the knee injury suffered by the player. The 39-year-old is one of the most experienced goalkeepers in terms of international football. He has represented the Ireland national team in 133 matches, but he has been sidelined since limping away from the 1-0 win over Germany back in October. The upcoming game against Bosnia and Herzegovina will be anything but easier. Hughes predicted that it will be tough for the goalkeeper to make it to the national team given that he has not recovered sufficiently from the surgery. Stoke, themselves, have been getting through with youngster Jack Buckland deputising him in goal.

"He was in training the other day and unfortunately after training, his knee blew up. He's got a little bit of loose bone in the knee which we hoped would just settle down.But obviously it's raised his head again and it looks like he might have to have a procedure to deal with it. I'm not sure if that decision has been made as yet, but it's probably what will happen.No, he won't be available for that. I would be very surprised," said the Stoke City manager.

Shay Given praises new Manager Tim Sherwood

Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given says that new manager Tim Sherwood played a huge role in inspiring the club to a comeback over Leicester City in the FA Cup.

Villa moved into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win over Leicester, who are just two places below them in the Premier League. Both teams are struggling for form in the league. Since staying in the Premier League is a far bigger concern for many clubs, it was thought that Villa would field a weakened team and not bother about getting a victory. It was not the case after they managed to prevent a late fightback from Leicester to win the match 2-1.

Villa had suffered three consecutive defeats prior to this match, but they were on a high after the arrival of Sherwood on a new three and a half year contract. The former Tottenham manager may not have lasted long in his previous role, but he is expected to rejuvenate this Villa team at least in the short-term. Given is coming to end of his career at 38 years of age. He is yet to feature in the league with all of his four appearances so far coming in cup competitions. It is unlikely that this situation will change even after Sherwood’s arrival.

"When the new manager comes in it's a clean slate for everyone. I have plenty to offer and I hope that Tim sees that today.He was very positive -- he's always a positive guy. He told us to go and express ourselves. We have to take confidence. We scored two goals, and we have struggled to score goals. We will take belief from that as well and use this momentum to take into our league games,” said Given about the half-time team talk given by Sherwood.

Shay Given might give away Goalkeeping

Shay Given might be seen discharging the goalkeeping duties for his former club Newcastle United this weekend.

The Magpies are finding themselves in a lot of trouble at the moment. All the three goalkeepers that they had in the senior squad are injured and the only option that they are left with now is to go with the teenaged Freddie Woodman in the upcoming game against Sunderland.

Woodman is only 17 and it’s very difficult for him to soak in the intensity and pressure of the first division.
And, there will be that added pressure in that game against Sunderland.

The Black Cats are the arch rivals of Newcastle and even the experienced players feel the nerves in that derby encounter.
So, to ask somebody, who is this young, to take position between the sticks in such a high profile fixture, it would be a fraction unfair.

It is understood that Newcastle seeks permission from the governing committee of the Premier League to bring in somebody on loan quickly for a short period of time.

If they are granted that permission, the first man that they would think about is Shay Given.

Firstly because the veteran Irishman is not playing at Villa and is not supposed to be going to play in the near future either and secondly, because he has been there in the Tyne-Wear derbies.

The supporters of Newcastle desperately want the club to try and make that loan move.

Some of the supporters even tweeted directly to Shay Given on his Twitter account, urging him to accept the offer of Alan Pardew if he comes with it.

However, the most important question is whether the governing committee would allow Newcastle to loan in a goalie at this point of time or not.

Given still has ambition at 38

Who says the players start losing their hunger once they get past 35 years of age? Look at Shay Given. The guy is 38 now, but, there is still ambition in his eyes. He is still going, not only in the professional circuit, but, in the international arena as well.
The veteran goalie had actually got himself away from international soccer by announcing his retirement in 2012, but, he has come out of it now and he has even been included in his national squad i.e. Republic of Ireland.
Given is not worried about how many matches he is going to play for Ireland in future. According to him, the more important thing for him is to be with the squad and make sure that he contributes in some way or the other.
In an interview recently, when Shay Given was asked if he is sure to be given opportunity to play in the forthcoming match versus Gibraltar, he said, “It’s not that important for me. What’s important is to make some kind of contribution even if I sit out. I would be really happy if I do that.”
“The purpose is to make the team qualify for the big competitions. It doesn’t matter who plays as long as that guy is living up to what’s expected.”
Given, however, admitted that sitting on the sidelines at club level can get a bit difficult as well as frustrating at times.
In the words of the Irishman, “You obviously don’t like that, but, if you are not the first choice, that doesn’t mean you sit back and doesn’t put in effort because you never know. Suddenly, somebody gets injured and you are called upon to play. So, you’ve got to be ready.”
Given has thus far had 38 matches to his name in Villa shirt.

Given Believes Guzan Can Replace Howard

Shay Given has said that Brad Guzan can replace Tim Howard as America’s no. 1 goalkeeper in case the latter decides to call it a day as an international footballer.

Howard was fantastic for USA in the World Cup in Brazil. He had made numerous great saves, but, being 35 years of age, he can’t be expected to keep playing for long now, surely not until the next World Cup which is going to take place in Russia.

Given, who himself had been rock solid between the sticks for a number of years for the Republic of Ireland, reckons that the time has come for Guzan to be given a permanent place in the USA national squad.

Since making his debut for USA in 2009, Guzan has played only 25 international matches so far.

Talking about Guzan the other day, Shay Given said, “Brad just needs to keep doing his job which is to make saves for Aston Villa. He has been doing that expertly for the last couple of years and I have got no doubt that with Tim Howard near the end of his international career, Brad would be considered by the USA management quite regularly now. Even if Tim doesn’t retire, Brad should be given opportunities.”

“Brad’s concentration level is quite good and at Aston Villa of late, he has shown that he has got all the qualities needed for somebody to become a successful international goalie.”

Guzan has been at Villa since 2008. He had joined the club after leaving Chivas USA.

For the first few years of his tenure at Villa, Guzan was the understudy of his compatriot Brad Friedel. But, since 2012, he started getting regular playing time. In the last two years, he has made more than 70 league appearances for the club.

Given's Time Nearing End at Villa

Shay Given’s time as a player with Aston Villa is nearing its end as he has been the 3rd choice goalkeeper behind Brad Guzan and Jer Steer since the past season and even though the veteran shot-stopper was promoted to the coaching staff of the club, the Irishman is eager on getting more playing time.

Middlesbrough managed to sign Shay Given on a loan deal and he became a fan favorite with the Championship league club after making a series of superb performances as he secured a string of clean sheets along the way.

The 38 years old Irishman explained to the media that he has already been in contact with the manager of Aston Villa and he will be willing to let him go in the summer when the transfer window opens and all that he wishes to do, is get into a club where he can get a higher chance of getting into the first team.

"The manager and the club have said they would let me go if somebody came in. It's quite clear with the budget the manager has here and the cutbacks to be made, but I still feel I've got plenty of time left in my career.
"When you train all week and do all the work in the gym, you question yourself because there's no game at the end of it. Hopefully something will happen in the summer and I can get playing again. People do forget you, but that’s why my time on loan at Middlesbrough was important.’’ Given revealed.

At his age, Given is reaching the last few stages of his career and the next club he joins will probably be his last one. It would be a wise choice for him to enter a club where he can get secured playing time.

Given’s time in the Championship league has been nothing short of amazing and his string of performances has sparked the interest of a number of clubs who are willing to offer the Irishman a contract for up to 2 years where he will be playing the last few seasons of his professional competitive career.


Shay Given is set to return to Aston Villa at the end of February after negotiations involving him and Middlesbrough were brought to a stop as the Irish goalkeeper wanted to extend his loan deal with the English club but an agreement could never be made due to the high wages of Shay Given which is believed to be around €50,000.

The Chief Executive of the Football Association of Ireland John Delaney, praised the veteran shot-stopper as he considers Given to be the best Irish goalkeeper of all time. Delaney was attending the Donegal Sports Star Awards and during an interview he went to talk about his passion for sports as well as talking about the goalkeeper of Aston Villa.

“I love all sports. Ten county medals in Tipperary, four for Gaelic football, two for hurling and four for soccer. I played in a Munster Gaelic football final many years ago. One of my favorite sports in the world is hurling and I loved playing it. Shay Given, is probably the best Irish goalkeeper of all time; Packie Bonner, probably are the two best ever Irish goalkeepers” Delaney said as he responded questions and expressed his opinion about Shay Given.

The assistant coach of Ireland Roy Keane is taking into special consideration the performances of Shay Given in these last few months as the 37 years old goalkeeper is a candidate on being recalled for the national team.

Given’s last performance for Ireland was back in 2012 but his lack of playing time in Aston Villa saw him making a loan move to Middlesbrough where he tried to spark his career back to life and it is believed that Given has already been having talks with the head coach of Ireland, Martin O’Neil regarding the participation of the shot-stopper in the upcoming plans of the tactician.

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